If you’re an introvert, the holiday party is quite possibly one of your most dreaded activities this time of year. The people. The talking. The having to be friendly and put on pants.
I get it. From one introvert to another, trust me. I understand.
That’s why, in an attempt to help my fellow introverts out there survive this time of year, I’ve put together a little holiday party guide. Whether you’re attending a family event or a work celebration, follow these steps, and I guarantee you will live through it. Probably.
Locate the appetizers and post up. Anytime someone comes within chatting distance, shove your face full of cheese and rum cake, then hold one hand up to your mouth while waving the other — the universal sign for, “My mouth is full, so I can’t talk right now.” If you play your cards right, you won’t have to engage with a single person the whole time.
Make a general announcement upon arriving that you’re just getting over a nasty cold/stomach bug/highly communicable disease. Be sure to include details, such as the unique color of your blood-tinged phlegm or the assault your bowels suffered over the past week, even — and especially — if none of it is true. Bonus points for making it sound antibiotic-resistant. Conducting prior research — think WebMD — before will ensure nobody will want to communicate with you lest they upchuck those ham roll-ups they just consumed.
Similarly, cough/sneeze all over party-goers. Bring a hankie to snarf into multiple times during a conversation. When that appears to have been used up, begin wiping your nose with your sleeves and hands. Afterward, gently touch fellow attendees on the shoulder or arm during conversation. Watch them shrink into themselves as they begin making up excuses for why they have to get away from you ASAP. Find a comfy spot on the couch and enjoy your solitude.
Arrange for a friend to call with an emergency. This classic move isn’t just for blind dates gone awry. Concoct a story beforehand — that your mother has fallen in a well and can’t get out, that the police have been called to your home for a suspected B and E, or that the test results have come back from the CDC and it appears that mystery substance in your mailbox was anthrax after all — and ask your pal to give you a buzz approximately 37 to 49 minutes after your arrival. Take care to practice your look of shock and panic to really sell it.
Present yourself as the most annoying person at the party. This one’s going to require a bit of heavy leg work at the outset, but the payoff will be well worth the effort. Talk loudly about as many inappropriate things as possible the second you walk in the door. Bad jokes, the burning sensation you experienced during your last urinary tract infection, and obnoxious opinions about politics are all fair game. Pretty soon, not a single person will want to come within a 10-foot radius of you. Spend the rest of the gathering playing Candy Crush and pinning anti-Elf on the Shelf memes in the corner.
Bring your kids. Don’t feed them or allow them to take a nap prior to coming. Alternately, you can let them sleep all day and then pump them full of candy and Mountain Dew before arrival. Either way, they will be so insufferable that guests will practically cheer as you cart them out the door a mere half hour after making your appearance.
Avoid showering for a week before the event. The more you look like an extra from The Walking Dead (season 3 on), the better. Additionally, avoid making use of deodorant or detergent of any kind. You need to be emanating a noticeable funk from your person to pull this one off.
If all else fails, bring a flask filled with bathtub gin. If you can’t subtly scare them away, extreme drunkenness should do the trick.
There you have it, folks. Your guide to surviving the cringe-worthy holiday party with sanity intact. It really is the most wonderful time of year, isn’t it?